A red accent does wonders to an ensemble. Fashion accessories are often good carriers of accent colours and this photograph of a model sitting on railway tracks is a great example. The cool colours of her deep blue skirt and her white and grey blouse are well offset by the red in her lips and the striking red of her thin belt. Adding to it is the red belt itself which is slender rather than broad and works beautifully with the patterned blouse by being a braided rope belt; Two textures in an otherwise flat coloured look. A good use of contrasts.
Beyond the fashions and red accessories, I do love this photograph purely as an image. It has a simple openness to it that makes you want to keep looking. The model is inviting and the scene seems to lead you into the distance on journeys and adventures beyond this lovely green place.
There’s that classic flat-coloured, enamel painted home appliance look favoured by artists of the heady 50s and my high-end brands of today in small numbers, and then there is the sort of electric shiny version of the coloured home appliance which we ended up with in the last three decades. This shiny metallic red microwave oven is a fine example of the latter. I guess it was an inevitable shift. Cars too had flat enamel style paint in past decades and these days we seem to favour the metallic shades, we’ve grown to see them as more modern and futuristic with flat colours being a sign of bygone times. Using the reverse logic, since customised sports cars are now getting vinyl matt color surfaces as the new hot thing, perhaps a matt red microwave will be finding its way soon to a kitchen near you.
The parasol or umbrella is a world-wide basic tool, but the red paper parasol remains a strong property of the East. Red parasols are woven into far eastern culture and myth, making them as much of a cultural symbol as a useful accessory. A red parasol filtering the sunlight that streams through dusty alleyways and narrow lanes, lends an air of the exotic to any street scene. Even if not set in the bazaars of the east, like this photograph here, a red parasol stands out from the rest, setting apart its bearer and begging the witness to ask questions of the one who bears it. Who they are, where they are headed and what story they will weave in the world. Like a bright red pin in a map, it calls attention to itself, and adding a certain mystery to the scenery. A red ‘X’ marking the spot, but to what treasures?
The ubiquity of household equipment has dulled the sense of their specialness to some extent, but there was a time when they were a magical thing for most and the stylishly designed red refrigerator was not unheard of. In fact, such pieces of domestic fashion are everywhere to be seen in the optimistic Americana of the 50s, when a labour saving device in every household or any such luxury was a sign of the prosperous future after the down times of the war. This aesthetic still exists, of course, now mostly reserved to high-end brands of furniture and appliances, to be used in modernist interior design masterpieces by the discerning clients and designers. But surely a red refrigerator isn’t too much to ask for, as warning buoy in the minefield of every urban kitchen, or as smart stylistic statement in those otherwise drab, beige and white interiors we now consider the adequate home. A little colour never hurt anyone.
A red cocktail dress is perhaps the very picture of publicity, while a bathtub is most private and personal, and folded within the realms of home and personal comfort. Cocktail dresses are meant to be seen, red ones certainly so, and in our bathtubs we hide and step away from the world with ourselves, only the water to soothe us. The juxtaposition of the two clashing worlds is what makes this image striking, the public face meeting he private face in a dramatically drenched scene. The bright red cocktail dress and the bright red lips on a made up face, usually meant to call attention, here soaking in anonymous privacy away from prying eyes, lost in water and wanton relaxation. Not to mention that floating in a bathtub wearing a red cocktail dress must be quite the outlandish personal experience, with many stories to tell.